UPDATE 3-China's latest rare earth move disappoints EU, US

Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:17pm GMT

* China issues 2nd batch of quotas at nearly 16,000 tonnes

* Rare earth metals used in range of consumer products

* EU calls China's move "highly disappointing"

* U.S. says new terms more restrictive than before (Recasts lead, adds U.S. comments, paragraphs 6-8)

By Michael Martina and Ruby Lian

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, July 14 (Reuters) - China eased export curbs for rare earth elements on Thursday, restoring them to near-2010 levels in a bid to appease trading partners, but the European Union said the move did not ensure stable supplies and the United States said the Chinese were heading the wrong way.

China accounts for around 97 percent of the world's output of the 17 rare earth metals, which are crucial for global electronics production and the defense and renewable-energy industries. They are are used in a wide range of consumer products, from iPhones to electric car motors.

This year's second set of export quotas on the minerals made up for previous cuts and it came just a week after the World Trade Organization ruled against China's curbs on a different mix of raw materials, which some trade partners say could set a precedent.

The EU and the United States were not satisfied.   Continued...

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